Today was my first day of work for 2015.
This means that the festive season is officially over.
So as we begin a new year, I think it’s important to remember that everyone who has a passion for cooking will experience some form of catastrophe in the kitchen this year. Whether it’s a recipe that just doesn’t come together or accidentally slicing off a fingernail (or worse) with a mandolin – it’s a kitchen – there is bound to be a mishap.
And you know what?
It doesn’t matter.
It’s taken me a very long time to come to that realisation. A long time and a hug from my mum.
You see, I recently made lemon meringue cupcakes for my mum’s birthday. I’ve never made them before, and truth be told, I wanted to make something that looked impressive.
I think I skipped in the kitchen that day – everything was perfect.
My cupcakes were beautiful, moist and delicately lemon flavoured. I had a super fancy brand of lemon curd to use, and my meringue frosting, which I have heard can be temperamental at the best of times, was glossy and silky smooth.
Before packing up the cupcakes to go, I took a photo for my blog. A pretty photo, if I do say so myself.
There may or may not have been more skipping.
I gingerly packed up the cupcakes. I put the lid on the first container. I turned to put the lid on the second container, hit the edge, and watched as my beautiful, impressive-looking cupcakes tumbled to the floor.
Then I promptly burst into tears.
Eventually, I made it to mum’s with the remaining cupcakes. Upon seeing her, I burst into tears again and apologised for bringing her a substandard dessert. She shook her head, told me to stop being silly and gave me a hug.
So it really doesn’t matter if something doesn’t come out looking perfect. Your family and friends will devour the goodies and ask you for more – my brother-in-law, after telling me he was only eating the pretty ones, ate five cupcakes that day.
It could have been worse.
Happy 2015 peoples!
Lemon Meringue Cupcakes
- A candy thermometer
- A kitchen blowtorch*
Ingredients for the Cupcakes
- 185g plain flour
- 1½ teaspoon baking powder
- 125g unsalted butter (at room temperature)
- 145g caster sugar
- 2 eggs
- 125ml milk
- ½ teaspoon natural lemon extract
- 1 tablespoon lemon zest (finely grated)
- 60g lemon curd (store-bought or homemade)
Ingredients for the Meringue Frosting
- 130g caster sugar
- 95g eggwhite
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- Preheat the oven to 175°C. Line 12 x 80 ml capacity muffin holes with paper cases.
- Sift the flour and baking powder together into a bowl. Set aside.
- Place the butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat for 2 to 3 minutes or until light and creamy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
- Add the flour mixture, in 3 batches, alternating with the milk, and beat until combined, scraping down the sides of the bowl as required. Add the lemon extract and zest and beat to combine.
- Divide between the cases and bake for 18 to 20 minutes or until lightly golden and when a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Cool in the tin for 4 to 5 minutes, then turn out onto wire racks to cool completely.
- Using a melon baller or a teaspoon, remove a scoop of cake from each cupcake. Fill each hollow with approximately 1 teaspoon of lemon curd.
- To make the meringue, place all of the ingredients in the top of a double boiler over medium heat and whisk continuously for 3 to 4 minutes, or until the mixture is hot to the touch and reaches 50°C on a candy thermometer.
- Remove the bowl and, using electric beaters, beat the mixture on high speed until glossy and stiff peaks form. Immediately cover each cupcake with meringue, using a spatula, then lightly toast with a kitchen blowtorch*.
* If you don’t have a blowtorch, you can brown the meringue by putting them under the grill/broiler on high heat for a minute or two. Watch them constantly though as they can burn quite quickly.
Recipe from the SBS Food website via Bitesize: 50 Macarons, Cakepops & Cute Things.